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Well, but, at last, they must sell. They cannot keep by them this amazing accumulation of four for ever. They may keep it till they lose the value of it in interest of their money; but, they must sell at last ; and, whenever they do sell, they must, by their own act, so lower the price, as to make the diminution of price then equal to the enhancement caused by their combination before.

But, supposing all this reasoning to be erroneous. Supposing it possible and easily practicable for all the millers and owners of flour to combine; supposing people to have the means of purchasing as much dear flour as cheap flour; supposing the consumption not to be at all dependent upon the price; and supposing, that, in the end, the millers gain greatly by combining together to keep up the price of flour. Supposing all this, we must not stop here, but must go on to suppose them able to raise flour to ANY price that they please. If the millers (suppose there to be only ten in the kingdom) are able, by the means of combination, to raise, or keep up, flour 103. a sack, why should they stop there? Is that the length of tether which is allowed to a miller's conscience ? It is, I imagine, avarice that this combination is ascribed to; and, does avarice content itself with a seventh, when it might, at pleasure, take a second, or more? What, let me ask, is it, then, which thus checks the conscience of these unconscionable men? Why, do they not demand 50 pounds or 100 pounds for a sack of four, seeing that by their machinations they are able to get 70s. instead of 60s.

I wish the wiseacre, who has written in the Courier, would answer these questions.

The truth is, that, if the millers, by combination, or by any other means, could gain as much as they pleased, or, even an immense profit by their trade, we should soon see many new millers. There would soon be two millers where there is now only one. Every hill and every rivulet would have its mill.

This is so clear, that one is almost ashamed to state it in a serious tone; but, really the ignorance which we witness upon these matters, justifies observations which men usually address to nothing but mere children.

The Assize of Breud in London is a relic of the barbarous ages. Men believed that the blood of a duck, which knavish priests exhibited to them in a phial, was part of the blood that issued from the hands and feet of Christ; they believed this, at the time when the assize of bread in London was established by law; and the former really appears to me to have been as good a proof of their wisdom as the latter.

Why not an assize of meat as well as of bread? Why not an assize of every thing that we eat, drink, or wear? I should be glad to know what reason any one can offer for this singular exception to the general rules of bargain and sale. In all other cases, those who have goods to sell put their own price upon them; and why they should not in this case also, remains to be shown.

The proof that the law is, in this respect, useless, is, that, in the coun. try, there is no assize of bread. The country bakers sell their bread for what they please; or, rather, as butchers do meat, for us much as they can get. Now, if the assize of bread be of any use in London, why is not the country to have the benefit of it? If it be to protect the people against avaricious combinations in London, why are ihe people in the country left unprotected ? That the bakers in the country do not avail themselves of this inconsistency in the law is very evident to me, seeing that the quartern loaf at Botley is generally a halfpenny, and sometimes a penny, cheaper then it is in London.

The assize is a relic of barbarism, and the whole set of notions of which it fosters the existence, are of the same cast.

In America there is no assize, either as to price or weight. Every one sells his bread as men sell other things; and the people purchase where they are best served in proportion to the price. If they find that one baker supplies them better than another, they deal with him, in exactly the same way that they give a preference to one shoemaker before another.

An attempt was made to establish an assize of bread at New York ; but the bakers having found it necessary to add to the profits on their bread, as as a compensation for the additional trouble which the assize occasioned, the assize was prudently abandoned, upon the principle that short follies were best.

The present complaint against the millers and four-dealers seems to have arisen out of the disappointment of the public, who expected, from the statements relative to the harvest, that bread would be sold for 8d. or 10d. the quartern loaf. But, if the public have been disappointed, who bave they to blame but the newspapers, who, upon this, as upon all other occasions, have filled them with false hopes ?

It is very true, that the crop has been very great indeed, as far, at least, as my observation has reached; and the harvest, from beginning to end, has been such as not to suffer any waste, even in the hands of the most careless sloven in the kingdom. But, what mau in his senses can expect to see wheat nominally cheap, while every thing else is nominally dear? To expect to see wheat return to its former nominal price, while the wages of the ploughmau is doubled, is, one would think, something too foolish even for such a person as the editor of the Courier.

This is a year of astonishing abundance. We have had a summer of sun-shine, of dews, and of showers, almost worthy of the meridian of France, where the vine and the maize grow side by side; but, even after such a crop as this, we shall not see wheat much lower than 51. 10s. a quarter ; and it is impossible that it should, while every thing employed in the producing of it is so high in price.

In short, things are not dear, but money, or that which we call money, is cheap. The grower of corn experiences no advantage in the high nominal price. He gets 12s. a bushel for his wheat, and he pays 12s. an acre for reaping it. Seventy years ago, he got 5s, a bushel for his wheat, and he paid 5s. an acre for reaping it. All his other expenses are in the same proportion. What, then, does he gain by what is called the high price of corn ? He gains upon his landlord, indeed if he have a long lease ; because his rent, which remains nominally the same, is really di. minished, in a certain degree, every year.

But, even here his gain is not much, in general, for, in most cases, his own mistaken notions of profit, induces him to farm so badly for the last five or six years of his lease, that he loses, through niggardliness and slovenliness and malice, a great part of what he has before gained.

To return to the Bakers, I perceive, that some of this unhappy trade have been recently prosecuted and fined in London for what is called adulterating their bread.

“ ADULTERATED BREAD AND SHORT WEIGHT. “Union Hall.- A Baker was summoned before Mr. Evance, charged with

“ exposing to sale bread short of weight: he pleaded guilty, and was fined 71. 58. “ and costs, being at the rate of 28. 6d. per ounce.

“ Another information was then preferred against him by Wortley and Lockie, charging him with adulterating his bread, and using potatoes and alum. It appeared, that in consequence of information which they had received, the offi

cers went to the defendant's house, and proceeded to search the premises, and “ in the bakehouse they found a quantity of alum; they also found the custom“ary apparatus, the iron pot and tin cullender, to the latter of which a quantity " of potatoes and some alum were still adhering. Wortley's curiosity induced “ him to look into the oven, he there discovered another iron kettle close covered, “ the iron being hot; he inquired what it contained, and was told a stew: this, “ however, not satisfying him, he drew it out, and on examining its contents, “ found them to be potatoes. These, in their boiling state, together with the “ light bread and alum, they conveyed to the office.

“The defendant pleaded ignorance that he was doing any thing illegal, though "he confessed having heard that other bakers had been fined for similar prac“ tices : he used the alum and potatoes because he considered they improved the “ flavour of the bread.

“ The Magistrate reprobated his conduct in strong terms, observing, that had "he known what was to follow, he would most certainly have imposed the full “ penalty of 58. per ounce for the short weight. In the present, wbich be con. “ sidered an aggravated case, he should for the adulteration imposc a fine of 201. " and costs."

So, then, it appears, that it is a crime for a man to use potatoes in the making of bread, and that the iron pot, and the cullender, were looked upon in somewhat the same sort of light as a pick-lock or a bloody knife.

Now, what crime could this baker intend to commit in using the potatoes and the iron pot and the cullender ? A fraud, I suppose, upon his customers, just as if the poor creatures had no taste of their own : no palate: no discriminating faculty either in their jaws or in their bowels : and being of this extraordinary description, a description which never before suited either man or beast, the law, with paternal tenderness, comes in to their aid, and protects them against the man who was selling them bad bread for good ! Astonishing law! Where it was first invented, I know not; but I am very sure that there never was such a law ever heard of before in this world ; and, if the people of England are remarkable for their thinking faculties, this law affords a very strong presumption that their bellies are the most stupid of those of any part of the creation.

What, then, the poor devils in the Borough of Southwark, did not know that they were eating potatoes in the place of four! Really, if they liked the stuff as well, I should have been very much disposed to let them go on feeding upon it; for, there can be no doubt that their so doing would have left more flour for other people, and, according to the vulgar notion, this baker's proceedings would have tended to lower the price of bread.

But, what is the real state of the case ? What is this fraud which this baker has been committing upon his customers ?

A short statement of undeniable facts will prove, that, if the man really did make use of potatoes in aid of flour, in whatever degree he so en. ployed them, he committed a fraud upon himself.

It takes ten pounds weight of potatoes, to make one pound of bread. Before they can be mixed with flour (and they can be mixed only with the water) they must be boiled down; they must be worked through a cullender; and, then, ten pounds in weight of them, in their original state, are required to make an addition of one pound to the flour,

Now, the average price of potatoes in London, purchased by the ton, is, at least, one penny a pound, delivered in ; and, of course, ten pounds weight of potatoes, costs the baker ten pence. Flour, at ninety shillings a sack, is a little more than 3 d. per pound. Consequently, the baker loses 6 d. by every ten pound of potatoes, which he employs as a substitute for flour, What an ass, there ..

no, not ass, for we know there was once an ass, which spoke, and spoke very sensibly too; but what a senseless two-legged brute must this baker have been to commit the fraud imputed to him !

The truth is, that the potatoe is employed, not in aid of the flour, but in aid of the yeast. The fermenting quality of the former, joined to that of the latter, become wonderfully eflicacious in producing light bread; and, as the potatoe has nothing very noxious in its nature, it is used for this purpose by private families as well as by those whose trade it is to make and sell bread.

It seems very wonderful to me that the customers of this man should not have discovered the fraud. And, then, the remedy was in their own hands, for they could have gone to another baker.

If he managed the thing so well, if he cheated himself so neatly, that those who ate his bread were unable to discover the fraud, I think, that according to the vulgar notion of SUBSTITUTES, with the sound of which the nation was dinned into absolute stupidity ; I think, that according to this vulgar notion, the man ought to have had a premium for his discovery.

He had, it seems, found out a way of making potatoes into bread with so much art, that it was impossible to perceive, from the taste of his bread, that it was not wholly composed of wheat-flour ; and that it was neces. sary to hunt after the unfortunate pot and cullender to come at the evi. dence of his guilt.

It is true, indeed, that the graving-tools of a forger of bank-notes are looked upon as proofs of guilt; but, then, this gendleman's wares go forth to the manifest detriment of those who take them; the unfortunate holder of one of his notes but too sensibly feels what he suffers from the fraud; whereas the eaters of the potatoe-bread stood in need of the ferretting out of the pot and cullender to give them the first intimation of their having being imposed upon.

This case of the baker appears to me to be a very hard one indeed; but, it leads one to an observation or two upon the growth of this delicious root the potatoe, which I have before said was one of the greatest evils that England ever knew. This root was, I believe, first imported from America, as was, it is also said, that most loathsome disease, which I will not name ; but, which, from the bottom of my soul, I believe, to have been a much smalier curse to Europe, than this root, which has, of late years, been a subject of so much praise.

It has been so often asserted, that, at last, men appear to take it for ġranted, that the cultivation of potatoes has greatly added to the quantity of food raised in England. If by quantity, people mean bulk, they are right; for, to be sure, it is a monstrous heap of stuff that comes off an acre of potatoes. But, if they mean sustenance, what they say is false.

Ten pounds of potatoes produce no more sustenance than one pound of flour

Five quarters of wheat to an acre are frequently produced. The

weight of that weight, at 60lbs. a bushel, is upwards of one ton. And it is a very large crop of potatoes, which will amount to ten tons.

Let it be observed, too, that the potatoes being calculated for nothing but the improvident brute creation, leave no straw behind them; no means of restoring to the earth any part of what they have so abundantly drawn from it.- But, this root is become a favourite because it is the suitable companion of misery and filth. It can be seized hold of before it be half ripe, it can be raked out of the ground with the paws, and without the help of any utensils, except, perhaps a stick to rake it from the fire, can be conveyed into the stomach in the space of an hour. We have but one step further to go, and that is, to eat it raw, side by side with our bristly fellow-creatures, who, by the bye, reject it as long as they can get at any species of grain or at any other vegetable.—1 can remember when the first acre of potatoes was planted in a field, in the neighbourhood of the place where I was born ; and I very well remember, that even the poorest of the people would not eat them. They called them hog-potatoes ; but now, they are become a considerable portion of the diet, of those who raise the bread for others to eat.

It is not many years ago that a bill was brought into Parliament for the giving of premiums for the cultivation of this ruinous root.

It was thrown out, to be sure ; but the bare fact of its having been brought in, was a disgrace to the country. Wonderful, however, as it was, to see it proclaimed through the country, that the ministers of state at their grand dinners, had used fried potatoe-cakes, as a substitute for bread, in order to alleviate the then prevailing scarcity of flour, is it not still more wonderful to see a man punished as a criminal for having discovered the means of converting potatoes into bread in so complete a manner, that those who eat of that bread were unable to perceive that it was not wholly composed of four ?

WM. COBBETT.

PRICE OF BRE A D.- Continued.

(Political Register, October, 1813.)

I am glad to see, that a more rational way of thinking is taking place upon this subject. A correspondent wonders how I came at the knowledge of the use which bakers make of potatoes. If I am right, what matters it how I came by the means of making me so: if I am wrong, let my error be exposed.

I insert, at the end of this article, a letter from Mr. Hæcror CAMPBELL, who, with great ingenuity, maintains the propriety of an ussize of bread. I confess, that his arguments fail of producing conviction with me; and, I can hardly think, that they have satisfied his own mind. He is driven to say, that he would prefer an assize on all sorts of saleable commodities to an abolition of the assize of bread.

This, I think, shows his sense of the desperateness of his case.
But, what am I to think of the following argument of analogy ?

I bad observed, that, if left to itself, the trade of a baker would regulate itself fairly ; because the man who sold light or bad bread would lose his custom ; and, that, admonished by this just and wholesome punishment, other bakers would avoid the example.

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